China’s is losing its grip on COVID, which should worry the entire world

Columbia University history professor Adam Tooze has an excellent column up at Substack addressing China and COVID:

Amongst Xi’s regime’s proudest boasts is the fact that China has registered only slightly more than 5000 COVID deaths compared to more than 1 million suffered by the US. From 15 May 2020 to 15 February 2022, whilst many thousands around the world were dying from COVID every day, there were only two COVID-19 deaths in mainland China. Even allowing for propagandistic understatement of the Chinese numbers, Xi’s China has clearly been far more successful in protecting its population from the worst effects of virus than any country in the West. As a result, it cannot be stated too often, China’s life expectancy overtook that in the United States in 2021, a truly historic marker.

But now, only weeks after Xi’s triumphant party Congress, the zero covid policy is in crisis. The disease is spreading and China’s population is no longer willing to put up with it.

Desperate locked-in workers and indignant students have taken to the streets. Bottle-throwing residents have waged pitched battles with riot police. Chinese diaspora communities have braved the ominous presence of embassy security officials to stage protest meetings.

This is clearly a test of Xi’s authority, the most profound since he has taken power. One must profoundly admire the courage of the protestors and sympathize with the outrage and desperation triggered by successive waves of capricious lockdowns. In large parts of China, ordinary life has become hard to sustain. At the same time it is hard to resist Schadenfreude at the expense of Xi. Xi Jinping’s ‘myth of infallibility’ is being tested.

But as attractive as it may seem to side with the protests against Zero Covid this begs the question. What is the policy alternative? The fact that abandoning zero COVID would be a blow to Xi does not make that the right policy. The dilemma facing Beijing goes beyond the question of Xi’s legitimacy. As ludicrous as zero COVID has come to seem, as oppressive and capricious as its intrusions are in the everyday lives of Chinese people, it has saved huge numbers of lives. And if Beijing were to follow the demand to abandon the policy, this would likely result in a public health disaster not just for the CCP but for China.

Omicron is less dangerous than Delta but its infectiousness is extremely high. If the pandemic is allowed to run unchecked, hundreds of millions of people will become infected. Even with a low rate of severe cases, China’s medical system will be placed under impossible strain, not just in a handful of cities as in 2020, but across the country. Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people, if not more, will likely die.

Tooze notes also that there may be a way out, if China is willing to do thus far it has resisted:

There is a way out of Beijing horrendous impasse: mass vaccination and an ample supply of anti virals to help patients fight the disease. But that begs the question.

China was the first country to vaccinate. It has vaccines which when used in a triple dose are highly effective against hospitalization and death. The lack of mRNA vaccines is not the issue. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of China’s huge population have completed the basic two-course regime. Where Beijing has failed is in rapidly delivering the third and fourth round of boosters and in ensuring that the most vulnerable population, those over 60, are properly covered. As of the latest figures cited by Bloomberg, “only 69% of those aged 60 and above and just 40% of over 80-year-olds have had booster shots.” That leaves tens of millions of elderly with no protection at all. They are the people who died in Hong Kong.

As far as I am aware there is no fully convincing explanation for this failure to provide comprehensive coverage particularly of the elderly.

There are a lot of good studies in the specialist literature in medical sociology and psychology that help to explain some of the vaccine resistance.

China became a victim of its own haste in rolling out vaccines on a rough and ready basis to those under the age of 60. This created the perception that the vaccines were not properly tested or safe for use amongst more fragile elderly people.

China has an unfortunate track record of vaccine scandals and the lack of good data on the safety and efficacy of China’s shots among the elderly in homegrown vaccine’s clinical trials does not build confidence.

Health workers have been cautious about recommending vaccines for those with high blood pressure or autoimmune disorders and given the negligible chance of COVID infection, there seemed little reason to take the risk. In most of China, COVID has never been more than a news report. Thanks to the success of the 2020 measures, many cities have never logged a single case and elderly people regard the threat as very remote.

The Chinese population and the regime also suffered from “other people’s problem”-syndrome. Not unreasonably they convinced themselves that COVID was an issue for the failed and degenerate West. Rather than joining a broad global front to endorse precautionary vaccination and boosting with whatever vaccinations were too hand, Beijing allowed the media to spread questions about the efficacy and safety of vaccines in general.

Vaccines are the way out. Vaccines have always been the way out since they were introduced. Not lockdowns. Not masks. Not testing. Vaccines.

And yet, in my cohort of over-60 friends and family, I am still the only one who has gotten the bivalent booster. Many of these people are not vaccine-resistant. I really don’t know what the explanation is for how many older Americans who know better are not keeping their vaccines up-to-date. It’s puzzling why the simple act of protecting oneself from illness and death is not a default behavior.

One NH legislator wants to end the “gay panic defense” for anti-gay attacks, murders

There’s been a lot of gay bashers and gay murderers over the years who’ve gotten off lightly in court because they’ve been able to use the so-called “gay panic defense.”

It’s a surprisingly easy sell to some judges and juries that a gay man could flirt with another man and the man who is the object of the flirtation goes temporarily insane to the point of killing the gay man.

It has also often been the case that these allegedly straight men who kill gay men were the instigators of the sexual interest, and then panic post-coitally since someone now knows they have sex with men. Then they kill the gay man to erase the evidence. This is where the “panic” has often entered the crime.

Those of us who’ve been around have often observed that if straight women were able to kill straight men with whom they’ve just had sex and instantly regretted it, society would be littered with the bodies of straight men.

Some prosecutors, judges and juries have been starting to see through this defense. But not all of them.

So it’s good news that one Democratic legislator in New Hampshire is trying to change the laws in that state so that the “gay panic defense” cannot be used:

Incoming state representative Shaun Filiault of Keene campaigned on ending the “gay-panic defense” in homicide cases in the state, and now he is planning legislation to do just that.

Filiault, a Democrat, has requested that legislative staff write up a bill that would prohibit defendants from claiming temporary insanity because of an unwanted same-sex sexual advance.

He said the legal strategy treats the LGBTQ community unfairly.

“A woman who experiences a man’s flirtations would not be able to kill that man and then have her murder charge downgraded to manslaughter simply because she was the object of a man’s flirtations,” Filiault, an attorney, said Wednesday.

“Being the object of a flirtation does not cause temporary insanity, and we should not be treating sexual orientation differently in the law. Let’s have consistency here, and let’s treat a person with equal dignity in the law, and let’s treat a crime as a crime.”

He said his research has shown that the legal defense has been used around the country, although not in New Hampshire.

The American Bar Association has recommended that federal, state and local governments curtail the availability of this defense strategy.

At least 16 states have banned its use, according to a June 7, 2021, report by the Movement Advancement Project, a Colorado-based nonprofit think tank.

Since local courts, prosecutors and police are not required to keep statistics on the gay panic defense, to say it has not happened in NH is a little weird and likely not accurate. I mean, in my experience, it was used a lot for a very long while.

Still, good for newly-elected Rep. Filiault for being proactive.

Incoming state representative Shaun Filiault of Keene

Preventative health care of millions hangs in the balance in TX

Health care providers — at least the sane ones who follow the Hippocratic Oath — are anxiously awaiting a ruling from one Texas judge that could up-end the requirements vis-a-vis the Affordable Care Act which require insurers to cover basic preventative services.

From the Wall Street Journal’s Stephanie Armour:

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent volunteer panel of health experts, is one of three entities that recommends which preventive services must be covered by health plans and Medicaid expansion. The task force’s recommendations have led to no-cost coverage of such services as mammograms and screenings for colon cancer, HIV, cervical cancer, and gestational diabetes.

Six individuals and two companies opposed the ACA requirement that they provide insurance or purchase plans covering certain preventive services. Their lawsuit argued that the services aren’t needed or violate their religious beliefs.

The plaintiffs objected to coverage of contraception, screenings for sexually transmitted diseases and drug use, and vaccination against human papillomavirus, the sexually transmitted disease known as HPV, according to the lawsuit. They also objected to coverage of pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, a medicine that helps prevent HIV infection.

Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in September ruled the requirement that the Preventive Services Task Force’s recommendations be covered by most health plans violates the Constitution because he said the task force must be appointed as officers by the Senate or the president, rather than selected as volunteers. He rejected claims that preventive-care recommendations from the two other entities were improper.

The plaintiffs are asking Judge O’Connor to strike down all preventive-coverage requirements since 2010 that have been recommended by the task force. Both parties have prepared input for the judge before he makes a decision on how broadly the ruling will apply. Judge O’Connor could limit any relief to just the plaintiffs in the case, or he could issue a nationwide injunction that would strike down the requirement that insurers cover preventive services recommended by the task force.

We always knew that extremist religious forces were emboldened by Trump, and this is the latest play they are making to control the bodies and health care of millions of Americans.

We will never know how many lives have been saved by the requirement that insurers cover PREP drugs to prevent new HIV infections.

Employers starting to buck the trend toward valuation of college degrees over technical and on-the-job skills training

Wikipedia’s entry calls it “Credentialism and educational inflation,” and describes it as “any of a number of related processes involving increased demands for formal educational qualifications, and the devaluation of these qualifications. In Western society, China, and India, there has been increasing reliance on formal qualifications or certification for jobs. This process has, in turn, led to credential inflation (also known as credential creep, academic inflation, or degree inflation), the process of inflation of the minimum credentials required for a given job and the simultaneous devaluation of the value of diplomas and degrees. There are some occupations that used to require a high school diploma, such as construction supervisors, loan officers, insurance clerks, and executive assistants, that are increasingly requiring a bachelor’s degree.”

I have one friend who tells me that all the higher-level administrative assistants in the graduate school where she works have master’s degrees. You could peruse job sites and apps and easily find medium-level jobs — non-technical, non-scientific jobs — of all sorts which require a bachelor’s degree (doesn’t matter what your major was) that previously required only related experience and a high-school diploma.

The reasons for this are varied, but one of the big reasons has been HR people — many of them degreed themselves when they need not be — who use the possession of a bachelor’s degree as a stand-in for the ability to work hard and be productive. This is despite all evidence that having a college degree alone does not translate into increased productivity or skill in these types of jobs that do no require any special training beyond the ability to learn quickly, synthesize large amounts of administrative information, be super-organized and get along with people.

The great harm this does to society is obvious because it forces people whose earning power will never exceed a certain level to take-on all manner of debt for a college degree they did not need in order to be proficient at these jobs.

Employers, including some of the largest in America, are starting to scale back degree requirements for jobs for which experience and technical skills learned on-the-job are more important than a degree, as this WSJ article by Austen Hufford explains:

Some occupations have universal degree requirements, such as doctors and engineers, while others typically have no higher education requirements, such as retail workers. There is a middle ground, such as tech positions, that have varying degree requirements depending on the industry, company and strength of the labor market and economy.

Lucy Mathis won a scholarship to attend a women in computer science conference. There, she learned about an IT internship at Google and eventually dropped out of her computer science undergraduate program to work at the company full time. The 28-year-old now makes a six-figure sum as a systems specialist.

“I found out I had a knack for IT,” she said. “I’m not good at academics. It’s not for me.”

More than 100,000 people in the U.S. have completed Google’s online college-alternative program that offers training in fast-growing fields such as digital marketing and project management, the company said. It and 150 other companies are now using the program to hire entry-level workers.

The majority of its U.S. roles at IBM no longer require a four-year degree after the company conducted a review of hiring practices, IBM spokeswoman Ashley Bright said.

Delta eased its educational requirements for pilots at the start of this year, saying a four-year college degree was preferred but no longer required of job applicants.

Walmart Inc., the country’s largest private employer, said it values skills and knowledge gained through work experience and that 75% of its U.S. salaried store management started their careers in hourly jobs.

“We don’t require degrees for most of our jobs in the field and increasingly in the home office as well,” Kathleen McLaughlin, Walmart executive vice president, said at an online event this fall. The company’s goal is to shift the “focus from the way someone got their skills, which is the degree, to what skills do they have.”

This is a very good thing to be happening.

Many of the country’s largest employers are starting to scale back the number of jobs for which they require a college degree, choosing instead to value specific job skills training over broad-based degrees from 4-year institutions.

When a beloved cat gets a kidney transplant, where does the donor kidney come from?

There are people out there who argue that spending $15K on a pet cat’s kidney transplant — or any pet’s surgical procedure — is morally questionable when society still has so many human beings living in abject poverty and hunger without a place to live.

That is just one of the quandaries presented by Sarah Zhang’s Atlantic article about pet health care costs. It uses cat kidney transplants as a stepping-off point, no doubt because there is a considerably more ethically messy thing about cat kidney transplants that had not crossed my mind before: the way vets get the donor kidneys from otherwise healthy cats:

In the oncology department at [U-Georgia vet school], when pets finish chemotherapy, the staff have a tradition adopted from human cancer wards of ringing a celebratory bell. Back in the ’60s, Weigner points out, your cat wouldn’t have gotten chemo. It probably wouldn’t even have been diagnosed with cancer. More likely, a sick cat would just go off by itself and die. But an owner nowadays can bring their cat in for biopsies, X-rays, and ultrasounds—followed by chemo, radiation, and immunotherapy. The list of options is long, the sums of money to spend very large. You can go to great lengths to treat an ailing pet, even if how far you should go isn’t always so easy to answer.

But among all of these treatments, cat kidney transplantation poses a unique ethical dilemma. The kidney has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere—or do we say someone?—is another cat.

Even among cat people, kidney transplants are controversial. One owner told me she was called a “kidney stealer” by fellow cat owners in a Facebook group for those with pets suffering from chronic kidney disease. In the U.K., the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has explicitly come out against using living donor cats in transplants, arguing that the surgery inflicts pain and discomfort on an animal that derives no benefit. A cat, after all, cannot consent to giving away a kidney.

To be clear, the donor cats are not killed. Like humans, cats can survive with one kidney. When Clare Gregory and his colleagues at UC Davis pioneered cat kidney transplants in the late ’80s, he made sure that owners adopted the donor—a policy that all three hospitals performing cat kidney transplants in the U.S. continue to uphold. No other types of organ transplants are done in cats, because they would involve killing the donor, which the vets and ethicists I talked with universally condemned. (Gregory tried doing kidney transplants in dogs first, but the canine immune system is unusually reactive, leading to kidney rejection.)

Strawberry’s donor was a one-year-old male tabby with a white chin. He was already up and about the morning after his surgery, keen to receive chin rubs; the young and healthy donor cats tend to bounce back faster than the older and sicker recipient cats. He’d be ready to go home with Strawberry’s owner in a matter of days.

As the article notes, it gets even ethically messier because the source of the donor cats is usually one of any number of companies, some of whose stock is traded on Wall Street, who provide lab animals (dogs, cats, mice, rats, etc.) to universities.

So a donor cat has, in one very narrow sense, gotten a golden ticket of sorts. Instead of spending life in a cage in a lab being injected with who-knows-what for its entire miserable life, kidney donor cats usually go on to lead normal lives in loving homes.

But I added the part about Wall Street for a reason.

As history has shown us, these publicly-traded companies will often try to get away with whatever they think they can get away with in terms of shoddy animal care standards, much to the detriment of the animals they breed in often horrific conditions. There are good reasons these companies often place their animal breeding facilities in conservative states with lax animal rights laws.

It will probably be a good day for humanity’s trajectory toward a higher level of civilization when (if?) we reach a point where it’s a settled question that since cats cannot give informed consent, they cannot be used as organ donors.

Commercial animal breeding facilities often keep animals in deplorable conditions.

More adventures in Roommate Wanted ad replies

I mention in my Roommate Wanted as that I consider myself to be a nerd.

I mention this because nerds are my peeps. They are the people with whom I am most likely to socialize and also have fun doing it.

So I get a reply yesterday that says this:

do nerds like their cock sucked

Setting aside the lack of capitalization and punctuation, this reply brings up the same point I’ve made again and again since I started this process:

What kind of loser uses Roommate Wanted ads to troll for sexual partners? Have I been transported back to a time when online dating sites and apps did not exist?

Crazy how often this happens.

There’s a new biography of J. Edgar Hoover out, and apparently it’s quite good

New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot — for my money, one of the best writers that magazine currently has in its stable of talented people — has a review of historian Beverly Gage’s “crisply written, prodigiously researched, and frequently astonishing new biography,” “G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century” (Viking).

Talbot notes that there is some new information in the Gage’s book, but this part of the New Yorker review caught my eye:

Was Hoover gay? I would have thought that it was a settled matter by now, but I would have been wrong. In a recent book, “Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington,” the journalist James Kirchick writes, “While it’s certainly plausible that Hoover was gay and that Tolson was his lover, the only evidence thus far adduced has been circumstantial.” In 2011, when Clint Eastwood made a bio-pic about Hoover that suggested he and Tolson were romantically involved, the Washington Post ran an article about ex-F.B.I. agents who angrily denied the notion. It’s true that, in the absence of more direct evidence, we can’t know. But Gage, who handles the question deftly and thoughtfully, will leave most readers with little doubt that Hoover was essentially married to Tolson, a tall, handsome Midwesterner with a G.W. law degree who went to work at the Bureau in March of 1928, and whom the press habitually referred to as Hoover’s “right-hand man.” Neither of them ever married, or, it appears, had a serious romantic relationship with a woman. After Hoover’s mother died, in 1938—he had lived with her in the family home until then—it was bruited about that now, in his mid-forties, he was marriageable at last. Hoover half-heartedly fanned the embers of a convenient rumor that he just might be engaged to Lela Rogers, the age-appropriate, fervently anti-Communist mother of Ginger. In 1939, he gave an interview in which he claimed to have been searching in vain “for an old-fashioned girl,” adding that “the girls men take out to make whoopee with are not the girls they want as the mother of their children.” Meanwhile, the only person with whom he seems to have enjoyed a documented flirtation, though it was chiefly epistolary, was an F.B.I. agent he had assigned to hunt down Dillinger, a young man named Melvin Purvis. In a correspondence from the thirties that Purvis, not Hoover, saved, the director dwelled admiringly on his agent’s swoon-worthy Clark Gable looks; as Purvis’s boss, he alternately promoted him and punished him for showboating and other infractions. (After forcing Purvis out of the Bureau, Hoover never spoke to him again; he did not even acknowledge his death, by suicide, in 1960.)

Beginning in the mid-nineteen-thirties, Hoover and Tolson, confirmed bachelors, as my grandparents would say, were almost inseparable. Though they did not live together in Washington, they took a car to work together every morning and lunched every day at a restaurant called Harvey’s. They went to New York night clubs, Broadway shows, and the horse races à deux, and vacationed together—Miami in the winter and La Jolla for the entire month of August every year. (Gage offers a close reading of photographs Hoover took in Miami one year, which included tender shots of a shirtless Tolson at play on the beach, and asleep in a deck chair.) Social invitations and holiday greetings from anyone who knew Hoover at all well and wanted to stay on his good side were addressed to them both. When Hoover died, he left the bulk of his estate to Tolson. F.D.R.’s son Elliott later said that his father had heard the rumors about Hoover’s homosexuality but didn’t care “so long as his abilities were not impaired.” It was possible for people to know the deal and to acknowledge it only tacitly, if at all, and for Tolson and Hoover to hide in plain sight.

What Hoover felt about all this remains elusive—a frustration, surely, for the biographer, and occasionally for the reader. We do know what Hoover did when, for example, he heard gossip about his sexuality or was asked to gather information about the sexuality of people less supremely insulated than he was. If an F.B.I. agent overheard you suggesting that Hoover was gay, you could anticipate an uninvited visit from clean-shaven men in hats, and a conversation in which you were told to shut up or else. Gage describes one such incident, from 1952, in which an employee at a D.C. bakery frequented by G-men told them that a guy he’d met at a party had asked if he’d “heard the director is a queer.” The report reached Hoover, who, Gage says, sent agents to the man’s house “to threaten and intimidate him into silence.”

Moreover, Hoover dutifully played his part in the “lavender scare” of the nineteen-fifties, which targeted homosexuals working in government for exposure and expulsion. (The excuse was that they posed a security risk, since it was thought that they were somehow uniquely vulnerable to blackmail, and that, like Communists, they made up a kind of secret society lodged in the heart of our institutions.) Hoover did not speak publicly about the issue the way he did about the Communist threat. But he obtained from the D.C. police the names of people arrested for “sexual irregularities” and passed them along to the White House. Those who worked for the government in any capacity, from filing clerk to Cabinet secretary, were supposed to be fired—and barred from all future government work. Perhaps he thought that his willing participation in a gay witch hunt would deflect attention from his own private life; perhaps he considered himself and Tolson different from the sexual irregulars the cops were rounding up. In the early nineteen-sixties, when a chapter of the Mattachine Society, a gay-rights organization, started up in Washington, Hoover immediately had its meetings monitored by informants. Some of the merrier men of the Mattachine, for their part, seemed to have got a kick out of sending Hoover invitations to their events. Gage reports on a memo in the files that reads, “This material is disgusting and offensive and it is believed a vigorous objection to the addition of the Director to its mailing list should be made.”

I, too, thought the question of Hoover’s sexuality was settled and, based on these passages, I think we can still say it’s settled.

There is much more to the review that is quite good, but if I share any more I’d be way out of fair use. In any case, I’ll buy Gage’s book based on this review alone.

J. Edgar Hoover and his lover (and co-worker) Clyde Tolson, left.

Influencers who status seek with an insulated water bottle

More evidence of how deeply effed-up some corners of our society are: status-seeking with a large plastic insulated drinking bottle:

Stanley, a century-old brand that you might associate with Grandpa’s camping gear, reports the waiting list for its 40-ounce drinking vessel peaked at 150,000 customers earlier this year after millennial women with large social-media followings helped repopularize it. Sales this year are up 275%, compared with last year, the company says, a figure that doesn’t count resales on websites like Poshmark.

Rhonda Jarrar, Google’s head of talent-outreach partnerships in North America, says Instagram led her to covet a sold-out Quencher. But she couldn’t bring herself to spend the $100-plus commanded by people trying to flip theirs for a profit. She waited for a restock, pounced on one at face value and now relishes the admiring banter that ensues when she takes a sip on video calls.

“I’m fully remote, so sadly I don’t get the chance to status-signal to co-workers” in person, she says.

The notion of a status water bottle, laughable just a few years ago, is a product of the new work order.

Many traditional markers of style and success—think designer handbags and Swiss watches—are either off-camera during Zoom meetings or seem overly dressy in offices that are more laid-back than before the pandemic.

What’s the point of buying Italian-wool trousers if denim is the new uniform, or an $800 pair of heels if you aren’t going to strut onto the company elevator and savor envious glances?

I’ve had a lot of fashion-conscious people in my orbit over the years, and they break mostly into two camps:

  1. People who are genuinely fashionable and generally wow you with aesthetics which show how much they cherish well-made designer clothes (and other purchases) that bring them joy to wear and own.
  2. People who are hangers-on (we now call them influencers) who buy things because they think it gives them status. They are often terrible dressers and have minimal design sense themselves. They purchase things because the Kardashian told them to.

It’s not reassuring that Google’s head of talent-outreach partnerships in North America is such a poseur she falls into the first category.

As far as the Stanley water bottle goes, every one of them shown in the WSJ article quoted above has what I consider the death knell for an insulated drink container: a plastic straw. Or, rather, what ends up being a pathogen-encrusted mess unless you buy a special brush to clean it regularly.

For my money, if you want a super sturdy stylish insulated drink container that is also efficient at keeping things hot and cold, buy Takeya sports bottles at this link. They require a little loving care in terms of upkeep on the removeable/washable rubber O-rings in the lid (you can buy replacements), but it’s minimal. This thing does not spill or break no matter if you drop it or carry it all day laying on its side in a backpack or briefcase. You will still have ice at the end of the day.

I discovered Takeya this summer for my iced coffee, and I will never, ever use anything else.

Takeya insulated bottles are better than Stanley in every way.

More adventures in roommate searching on Craigslist

I had a guy last night contact me via the Craigslist ad. He helpfully gave me a full name and a phone number, which was enough to run a simple background check on him.

His criminal record — each line represents a separate offense — includes:

  • Harassment 1st Degree/Probation Violation
  • Petty Theft ($100 or less)
  • Disorderly Conduct/Battery
  • Criminal Mischief/Domestic Abuse/Assault
  • Harrassment 1st Degree
  • Harassment 1st Degree
  • Prostitution
  • Assault on a Peace Officer
  • Stalking (2nd Offense)
  • Theft (5th Degree)
  • Theft (5th Degree)
  • Interference w/Official Acts
  • Harassment (3rd Degree)
  • Simple Assault
  • Theft (5th Degree)
  • Domestic Abuse Assault
  • Criminal Mischief 5th Degree
  • Assault
  • Theft (5th Degree)
  • Theft (5th Degree)
  • Assault
  • Theft (4th Degree)
  • Stalking
  • Assault
  • Harassment (2nd Degree)
  • Robbery (2nd Degree)
  • Violation of Parole
  • Disseminate Obscene Material to A Minor
  • Assault
  • Theft 5th Degree
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Domestic Abuse Assault
  • Stalking

He’s big on theft, sometimes getting charged twice within as many months. He’s also a repeat Stalking offender.

Perfect roommate material!

How is this guy out walking around? He’s obviously not a candidate for rehabilitation.

I will never, ever do anything off Craigslist again without having a way to look up the person with whom I am dealing.

No wonder so many people gets scammed/attacked/robbed/etc off Craigslist!

You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Or perhaps that was the Cantina in Mos Eisley spaceport.

Whatever, it still applies.

Members of the Craigslist Roommate Ad Responders Club getting ready for their monthly meeting where they recount stories of moving in with unsuspecting roommates they scam and then kill.

Dave Chappelle both condemns and excuses anti-Semitism in SNL appearance

Yair Rosenberg is one of my favorite writers of today. He is a contributing writer at The Atlantic magazine, which describes his specialty as examining “the intersection of politics, culture, and religion.”

He is most prescient when he writes about anti-Semitism which is, sadly and scarily, having a comeback around the world, but particularly from American MAGA politics, QAnon-fueled conspiracies, and certain Black television music and sports stars.

In a piece this week, Rosenberg takes up the appearance of Dave Chappelle on Saturday Night Live, during which the multimillionaire comedian, who styles himself as oppressed by wokeness, managed to both make fun of anti-Semitism and excuse it in the name of free speech.

Rosenberg is not having it:

As I watched Dave Chappelle’s much-discussed Saturday Night Live monologue poking fun at recent anti-Semitic incidents involving Black celebrities, I finally figured out why I no longer felt comfortable cracking jokes about anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

In his 15-minute appearance, Chappelle, a habitual line-stepper, deliberately mocked the presumptions of both anti-Semites and their critics, with little concern for where the chips fell. He closed his potent performance with a pronouncement: “It shouldn’t be this scary to talk about anything. It’s making my job incredibly difficult, and to be honest with you, I’m getting sick of talking to a crowd like this. I love you to death, and I thank you for your support, and I hope they don’t take anything away from me—whoever they are.” In context, this felt like a cheap but clever attempt to immunize himself against criticism—say nothing, and his comedic choices go unchallenged; say something, and you’ve proved him right.

Rosenberg goes on to say:

And this is what I realized as I watched Chappelle’s monologue: When so many people have proved so susceptible to the conspiracism that animates anti-Semitism, it becomes harder and harder to laugh about it. Comedy cannot be divorced from its context. Jokes assume a shared set of presuppositions between the comedian and the audience, which are subverted for ironic effect. But when that collective context is called into question, and one no longer knows whether everyone in the room is operating from the same premises, what was once satire becomes suspect. After all, the best parody is often indistinguishable from the thing itself—the perfect impressionist is the one who sounds exactly like Donald Trump. But when the performance is anti-Semitism, and so much of society seems in thrall to its essential elements, it’s not clear whether the bit is setting up a punch line—or just a punch.

There’s a lot of good stuff in the rest of the piece. It’s worth your time to read it.

Chappelle on Saturday Night Live.